Shipping company Mercator Ltd is eyeing a slice of the projected Rs 12,000-crore annual dredging contracts to be generated under the government's ambitious Sagarmala initiative. "As one of the largest private sector dredging companies in India, our extensive experience would surely help us get a slice of this business.
Pipelines for upcoming contracts are strong and growing," Mercator Chairman H K Mittal said. As far as dredging is concerned, the company is strategically positioned to benefit from the Centre's vision of making India a global transhipment hub and greater use of inland waterways for more efficient transportation, Mittal said while addressing the company's annual general meeting on September 15. He sees inland waterways development a huge opportunity for the dredging business. The company, during a presentation on the same day, said the Centre is focussing significantly on dredging and inland waterways development. "(There is) strong GoI (Government of India) initiative under the Sagarmala project involving projected annual dredging demand of around Rs 12,000 crore," the presentation said. According to the presentation, the Inland Waterways Authority of India is developing NW-1 (National Waterways 1) under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) with an expenditure of Rs 5,370 crore and the National Water Development Agency is working on the river inter-linking project between Maharashtra and Gujarat that necessitates considerable dredging. The Sagarmala project -- a port-led economic development programme -- is an amalgamation of 150 schemes under which the government is planning to ensure Rs 12 lakh crore investment for different works. Mercator Ltd, earlier known as Mercator Lines, is a Mumbai-based conglomerate with diversified business interests in dredging, coal, commodity transportation and oil and gas. Its market capitalisation rose to Rs 1,259.05 crore on March 31, 2017, as against Rs 549.78 crore on March 31, 2016, an increase of 129 per cent.